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WARNING - Fall 2010: Texas officials warn Americans visiting and boating on Falcon Lake to stay within USA waters and avoid the international boundary marked by buoys. Drug cartel violence is infesting the Mexican side of this international waterway, including armed robberies and murders. Before visiting the lake, check your favorite search engine for "Falcon Lake Mexico".
Situated on the Texas-Mexico border 40 miles southeast of Laredo, Falcon International Reservoir was formed in 1954 to provide water conservation, irrigation, flood control, and hydroelectric power to the area on both sides of the border. Falcon Dam was built on the Rio Grande River, which provided a beautiful, 60-mile long lake and recreation area in southern Texas. Managed by the International Border and Water Commission, a joint venture between the United States and Mexico, Falcon Lake is part of the South Texas Plains Region. The lake is named after Maria Rita de la Garza Falcon and displaced the town of Falcon when it was impounded.
Falcon State Park, on the southern end of Falcon International Reservoir in Starr and Zapata Counties, features camping, picnic areas, fishing, boating, swimming, water skiing, and hiking. There are three miles of hiking and mountain biking trails that make a loop around the park. Facilities in the campgrounds include air-conditioned or open-air screened shelters, campsites with full hook-ups, restrooms, and showers. There is a fish-cleaning station and a new boat ramp with three lanes, in addition to an older boat ramp with one lane. Visitors should note that the three-lane boat ramp is only available when the lake water level is at 261 feet or higher. There is a temporary ramp that was built for times when the lake level is below 261 feet, but four-wheel drive is recommended for that ramp. Contact the park for Falcon International Reservoir water levels and a list of which ramps are currently in use. Additionally, Arroyo Veleno ramp offers mid-lake access and can accommodate all boat types.
All statewide regulations are in effect when fishing on the Texas side of Falcon International Reservoir; a Mexico fishing license is required when fishing across the border. Check with the park office to see if a passport is required to go from one side of Falcon Reservoir to the other. Fish in the lake include largemouth bass, channel catfish, blue catfish, flathead catfish, white bass, and crappie. Often regarded as one of the best largemouth bass lakes in the state, Falcon International Reservoir provides excellent fishing during the spring, fall, and winter months. In 2012 Bassmaster Magazine named Falcon Lake the #1 Bass Fishing Lake in the USA.
Camp at Falcon State Park for a great winter playground for snow birds from the north looking for warm weather, beautiful scenery, and great fishing.
Nearby attractions include Lake Casa Blanca International State Park and Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park (headquarters for the World Birding Center). Attractions at Lake Casa Blanca include camping, boating, mountain biking, fishing, swimming, and picnicking. Located close to Mission, Texas, the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park is only minutes away from Falcon Lake offering birders one of the richest birding areas north of the Mexican border. It features nature trails, a hawk tower, birding blinds and viewing stations. There are numerous opportunities for bird and wildlife photography while you camp in primitive campsites or come for the day and take a tram tour.
Gently rolling hills covered in mesquite, huisache, wild olive, and native grasses highlight the area surrounding Falcon International Reservoir. Wildlife in the area includes jackrabbit, deer, javelina, ground squirrel, and cottontail in this mostly desert landscape. Birds commonly seen include killdeer, herons, grackles, mockingbirds, sparrows, and egrets.
The temperate winters are turning south Texas into a popular winter escape, and it doesn't get much better than at Falcon International Reservoir.
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